Equal Start for Children Begins with Equal Pay for their Teachers

Digital Briefs

April 2, 2019

The expansion of Universal Pre-K has been the cornerstone of Mayor de Blasio’s early education efforts.  Enrollment in Universal Pre-K for 4-year-olds is up over 350 percent since the mayor took office, and 94 percent of Universal Pre-K classrooms are meeting nationally recognized standards for positive classroom conditions and child outcomes. Additionally, 3-K is now available in 12 districts, and the mayor has included the expansion to two more districts in his Fiscal Year 2020 Preliminary Budget.

Now, the City is taking steps to create a birth-to-five early education system. While there are still many questions about what that system will eventually look like, it is clear that CBOs will continue to offer the lion’s share of the seats.

However, in order to ensure the system is stable, of high quality and successful in all communities, the City must pay its early educators equally.

Despite the role that CBOs play in bringing UPK and 3-K to fruition and their long history of care for subsidy eligible infants and toddlers, the city pays early educators at Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) 60 percent less than their peers at Department of Education (DOE). 

Salary disparities among educators persist and grow starker over time. For example, an MA certified teacher in a CBO earns $15,000 less (or 32%) in the first year of employment and the disparity grows to over $35,000 less than their DOE peers (or 66%) by 8 years of employment. Learn more in our infographic. 

This disparity in salary is made more problematic as CBO educators offer extended-day services during the school year and provide year-round services, through summer and holidays; meaning they work more days a year than their DOE peers.

CCC’s recent analysis of enrollment in the early education further illustrates the seminal role that CBO’s play in universal Pre-K and 3-K programs as well as programming for subsidy eligible toddlers, infants and 3 year olds. Currently, there are 91,000 children under 5 years of age enrolled in contracted early education services, and well more than half of all children receive care through CBOs.

Looking by age groups, more than half of 4-year-olds enrolled in UPK are in CBO classrooms, more than 70% of 3-year-olds and one-third of toddlers who receive care are in CBO centers. Communities heavily reliant on contracted center-based care are some of the most vulnerable, including Jamaica and Flushing in Queens, Central Brooklyn, as well as northern Manhattan and the Bronx.

CCC recently joined our colleagues in the Campaign for Children, as well as local elected officials, DC 1707, and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators for a rally at City Hall to urge the City to resolve salary disparities and pay early childhood educators in CBOs equal to their DOE peers.

For the sake of the families and children these initiatives are meant to benefit, and the steadfast commitment of the early educators preparing these children for school readiness, we must achieve salary parity for the early education workforce.We need your help. Join us in calling on Mayor de Blasio to achieve salary parity. 

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